Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday Recipes: Tea Breads

Today I am going to share with you a variety of tea bread recipes. 

Some of these recipes date back to the early 1900's. I hope you enjoy them, and even more so, I hope you'll stop by and comment if you decide to make any of them. Let us know how you liked them!

You can always find plenty of recipes on Old Fashioned Living by using our search box.

Chocolate Tea Bread

1/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Cream butter, sugar and egg in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add alternately with buttermilk to creamed mixture. Beat on low speed just until blended; stir in chocolate chips. Pour into greased 8-1/2x4-1/2x2-1/2 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Thinly slice and serve on platter with tea.

Lemony Tea Bread

3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon finely shredded lemon peel or lemon balm
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, or 1 tsp. dried thyme
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons shredded lemon peel
2/3 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a small sauce pan, heat milk, lemon balm or peel, and thyme until just warm. Remove from heat; cool. Stir together flour, baking powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until fluffy. Alternately add the herbed milk and the flour to batter, beating on low speed until just combined. Fold in lemon peel. Turn into greased and floured 9x5x3 loaf pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven 45-50 minutes or until golden. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan. Combine powdered sugar and just enough lemon juice to make a drizzle. Spoon over bread. Slice and serve on a pretty paper doily lined plate.

Mini Lemon Tea Breads

2 large lemons
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) margarine or butter
3 large eggs
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease ten 4"x2 1/4" loaf pans. From lemons, grate the peel and squeeze 1/4 cup lemon juice. In large bowl, mix all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With pastry blender or two knives butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon peel. In bowl beat eggs, milk and lemon juice; stir into flour mixture just until flour is moistened. Spoon evenly into pans; top with remaining lemon peel. Place loaf pans on a baking pan for easier handling. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on racks.

Notes: You can use one 9"x 5" loaf pan and bake 1 hour and 10 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Norwegian Tea Bread

1 cup sugar
1 stick butter, room temperature
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
splash vanilla extract
6 oz. chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350. Combine the sugar, butter and eggs together in a bowl. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl, and slowly add to the butter mixture. Batter will be stiff. After mixed, add the vanilla and chocolate chips. Stir well. Use ungreased cookie sheet and make 3 rows of butter logs. Place in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes. Cut while still warm on the cookie an angle. Serve.

Peach Tea Bread

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh peaches
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 x 5 loaf pan. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. In medium size bowl, combine peaches and lemon juice. In another bowl, combine oil, milk, eggs and vanilla. Add oil mixture to flour mixture and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overbeat. Fold in peaches and nuts. Spoon into greased pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until top is golden brown and center springs back when lightly touched, or test for doneness with a toothpick. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Lemon Tea Bread

1/2 c. butter 1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
grated rind of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Add dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Add the lemon rind. Bake in a greased and floured 9" x 5" loaf pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, mix juice and sugar in a small pan. Heat slightly. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, slowly spoon over topping until all is absorbed. Cool in pan.

Lavender Tea Bread

3/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp. dried lavender flowers, finely chopped, or 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped flowers
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs

Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat milk with lavender almost to a boil, then steep until cool. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in bowl. In another bowl cream butter and gradually add sugar, then eggs, one at a time, beating until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture alternately with lavender milk, in three parts. Mix until batter is just blended, do not overbeat. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool. When completely cool, drizzle with a simple sugar glaze or sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Garnish with sprigs of fresh lavender.

Sage Tea Bread

1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage or 2 teaspoons dried sage
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan, heat milk and sage just until warm. Set aside to cool. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk mixture. Pour into a greased 9x5x3" loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

If you enjoyed these, please check out our entire Tea Time section on Old Fashioned Living for more recipes, tea party ideas and more.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thrifty Thursday: Freecycling

If you haven't heard of Freecycle, then you really are missing out on a great opportunity to not only rid your home of things you don't want anymore, you are also missing out on lots of freebies! Freecycle is (quoted from their website):

"It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them's good people). Membership is free."

Since moving back to Wisconsin, I don't use Freecycle as often as I did in Vegas. Lately though I've been thinking about getting back in the groove as spring cleaning time is upon me and I will need someone to give away things to. Yes, you can simply donate to Goodwill or Salvation Army, but Freecycle gives you a real sense of giving back. It makes you feel as if you really, truly helped someone. 

Fair warning: There are some on Freecycle that don't necessarily want the item they request, but rather take as much as they can to sell on eBay or at a yard sale. Some freecycle members get upset at this prospect. My thoughts? I don't mind really. If it helps someone to support their family, then so be it. I don't need it anymore, so if they can put it to use, wonderful!

I have not only gotten rid of many things I no longer have a use for, but I have received quite a few things in return! I still use the camping table that a kind woman in Boulder City, NV gave to me several years ago. It's a great way to make new friends as well. 

There are general rules & guidelines, and each group may have their own rules as well, so just be sure to follow them and you should have an enjoyable experience. To find a Freecycle group in your area, go to and either enter your city and state in the search box or click on the Browse Groups button at the top.

Freecycle is a great way to keep things out of landfills, help others who need it, rid your home of stuff you don't use anymore, and get something free yourself!

This post is participating in Thrifty Thursday. To read other frugal ideas, click the Thrifty Thursday link!

~ Amanda

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reader's Questions: Home & Garden

Every moment of this strange and lovely life from dawn to dusk, is a miracle. Somewhere, always a rose is opening its petals to the dawn. Somewhere, always, a flower is fading in the dusk. ~Beverly Nichols

We finally have some sunshine and warm temperatures. I think spring has come to Michigan! Today I have some interesting questions and answers for you.

How do folks use old fashioned butter molds? I remember my grandmother saying something about putting it in ice cold saltwater so the butter would come out. Any advice on how to make them work? I turn small individual sized butter molds for fun and would like to actually use them, but I'm having trouble getting the butter patty to come out clean. ~Tim

I did some looking-- try soaking the mold in ice water for 30 minutes, then place it in the refrigerator for 30 more minutes. When you are ready to use it, rinse it in ice cold water, then fill it with the butter. Smooth it over and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours.

When you are ready to remove it, run just the tip of a knife around the edges to loosen, then turn it over and hopefully it will release! If this doesn't work, try putting the mold in the freezer, then doing the same thing.

My house on the north side is green with algae, it grows faster than we can clean it off . ~Henny

The first thing I thought of was using bleach-which you can try as long as it's diluted, but from the research I did it sounds like the best thing to do is find a cleaner made especially for removing algae. Ortho has one called De-Moss, and there is another one called DEFY Stain Blocker. You can also look for a cleaner that is an "oxygen bleach", such as the OxyClean products. It needs to be left on at least 20 minutes wet to work, and may need to be repeated. Once you've cleaned the roof and the house exterior you may need to do something else that I read about. It seems zinc strips, placed near the peak of your roof-- or where rainwater will hit them--produces a chemical that will help prevent fungus and mildew--that type of thing. I'm sure Home Depot or Lowes would carry something or at least be able to tell you more.

Are moon flowers poisonous to dogs? ~Christine

First, there are a few flowers given the common name moonflower. One is Datura, which is toxic to humans-ALL parts are poisonous! Morning glories, Ipomoea are also known as moonflowers-- mostly the variety that has big white fragrant blooms. The seeds of all ipomoea are toxic. Will they be toxic to animals? I wouldn't take a chance. Keep them where they can't get to them.

Build your own porch swing this summer:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Homemade Cleaners

With spring here many of us are cleaning out our homes, garages, closets and cleaning up the yard. Isn't it great to open up the windows and let a warm breeze waft through the house taking out the stale smell that winter left behind?

Today I'm going to share with you some homemade cleaners that I've found. I'd love to hear if you have any that you use regularly!


NEVER MIX BLEACH AND AMMONIA TOGETHER! This combination is deadly! Also, never mix products together that contain bleach with products that contain ammonia. This includes dishwasher detergent (contains bleach). I would even go as far as storing them in different places just as a precaution.

General Uses For:

Ammonia - good grease cutter, wax stripper, and window cleaner. NEVER MIX WITH BLEACH!

Lemon juice - great for whitening items, but vinegar is cheaper . It also cuts through grease and stains on aluminum and porcelain

White Vinegar - very cheap and versatile, great for whitening, also fantastic for cleaning hard surfaces, windows and shining up metal surfaces. Removes mildew, stains, grease and wax buildup. This is another natural cleaner that whole books have been written on!

Bleach - great for whitening anything, removing molds and mildews, and general cleaning. Best used diluted with water. DO NOT MIX BLEACH WITH VINEGAR, TOILET BOWL CLEANER, OR AMMONIA. The combination of bleach with any of these substances produces a toxic gas which can be hazardous. We want to save money without jeopardizing our lives!

Borax - (sodium borate) It deodorizes, removes stains and boosts the cleaning power of soap. It also prevents mold and odors. Great alternative for those who do not want to use bleach.

Baking Soda - Extremely versatile, baking soda is an all-purpose, non-toxic cleaner. It cleans, deodorizes, scours, polishes and removes stains. There are entire books out about the zillions of uses of baking soda, and the best thing about it is that it's cheap!

Washing Soda - (sodium carbonate) Cuts grease and disinfects. It will also increase the cleaning power of soap.

Ketchup - great for cleaning copper

Cornstarch - cleans and deodorizes carpets and rugs, you can use this to replace expensive "baby powders" also.

Pure Soap - cleans just about anything and is mild

Salt - believe it or not, regular table salt makes an abrasive, but gentle, scouring powder. Who would have known?


All Purpose Cleaner (From Rodale's Book of Practical Formulas)
2 cups rubbing alcohol (70% isoprophyl)
1 tablespoon mild dishwashing liquid (for handwashing dishes, NOT dishwasher detergent-it contains bleach!)
1 tablespoon ammonia
2 quarts water

Stir all ingredients together in a bowl. Fill a CLEAN spray bottle (not recycled one) with cleaner and store the rest tightly sealed in a large bottle. Use with a cloth or sponge to clean the bathroom fixtures, kitchen fixtures, appliances, chrome, plastic countertops, and painted surfaces. Rinse with a clean cloth or sponge after cleaning.

Homemade Dust and Furniture Polish

1 cup vegetable oil
½ cup lemon juice

Pour oil and lemon juice into a squirt bottle or jar. Stir to combine. To use, dip dust cloth or rag into oil, blot the oil by folding the cloth together, and then dust your furniture. Leaves a beautiful finish!

All purpose quick shiner

This shiner is mild and safe to use for all surfaces

1 ¼ cups white vinegar
1 ¼ cups water
22 ounce spray bottle

Pour vinegar and water into the spray bottle. Shake gently to combine. To use, spray on
and wipe off.

All Purpose Window and Glass Cleaner

Vinegar cuts grease and leaves windows sparkling clean. Best of all, this mixture is absolutely safe. It's the best choice if you have young children in the house.

¼ cup white vinegar
1 quart of water

Pour vinegar and water into a bowl or container, or mix the ingredients in a spray bottle. Clean windows directly with a sponge dipped in the bowl of cleaner or spray on and wipe clean. I have heard that you can use newspaper to clean windows quite well, I have always used old cloth diapers.

Sink Cleaner

Replace Comet and other abrasives with this homemade one. Combine baking soda and salt (I am guessing in equal amounts) to scrub stainless steel.

Oven Cleaner

¼ cup ammonia
2 cups of warm water

Pour ammonia and warm water in a baking dish and leave in a warm oven overnight. This will loosen the grime in the over, which you can then clean with an ammonia-based cleaner or soap and water. You can also scour with baking soda.

Cleaning Silver

Don't buy one of those metal plates that you put in warm water to clean silver. This is the same thing! 

Aluminum foil
Baking soda
Very hot water (can be boiling if you like)

Combine the above ingredients in a clean kitchen sink. Put your tarnished silver and silver-plated items into the sink and let set for a few minutes. Watch as the tarnish disappears from the silverware and reappears on the foil. This is a natural chemical reaction, and a great way to teach the kids some science!

If you would like to see the complete article for even more tips visit Homemade Cleaners on FamilyCorner

Monday, April 27, 2009

Garden Tidbits: Lilacs and Forsythias

Winter's done, and April's in the skies,Earth, look up with laughter in your eyes! ~Charles G.D. Roberts

Lilac bushes and forsythias are both spring favorites and I always receive questions about them. Lilacs need full sun to bloom their best. They will adapt to most soils as long as it's well drained. What other extra things can you do for your lilac? Keep the base of the bush well weeded, and add 3-4 inches of mulch as well. You can also work in compost or humus into the soil around the lilac before adding the mulch. Fertilizer really isn't necessary. One thing you may have noticed on lilac bushes is the appearance of powdery mildew. It won't kill the lilac but it's better to treat it if you can. As soon as you see the mildew apply a solution of 1/2 cup milk and 1 gallon of water to the infected areas. Place it in a spray bottle and spray the branches. It's a simple, organic remedy.

Prune your lilacs after they finish blooming. Do not wait till later in the summer or fall because it will hinder the next season's blooms.

Forsythias also grow best in full sun for the best blooms. They also adapt to most soils as long as they don't have poor drainage. They won't do well with wet feet. They are easy care shrubs but do need pruning to keep them healthy. Prune after the blooms fade. Every two years remove about a fourth of the oldest stems at ground level. New ones will grow and rejuvenate the shrub. If you have a forsythia that is old and hasn't been pruned in a very long time you may need to be a bit drastic. Prune the bush to about 4 inches from the ground in the spring. It will take 1-2 seasons before it blooms again, but it will be healthier.

On OFL we have tips on growing and using basil!